evil citrus

olympia_gardener(5)May 3, 2012

I am fan of Budda's hand and Chicago Cubs. They both share same common trait... disappointing me every year.

Since I potted my Budda's Hand several years ago, my dream started...golden yellow hand hang all over the tree... My dream adjusted...at least having one golden yellow hand hanging on the tree...

Every year it flowers, lots and lots flowers. I pollinate them, move it in and out to the sun, to the warm, getting water, avoid water, talking to it... still no fruits. I saw some babies but the babies had never grow large. just hang on the tree as babies and evetually fall off.

This year I still got lots and lots of flowers since March and it is still flowering. I saw one baby, a light of hope of a golden hand... I get rid off all the remaining flower buds on the same branch hoping the tree can send all its nutrien to the baby so the baby can grow...groW...grOW...gROW.

Spiritually, I am going to pray to the Budda to grand me the golded hand; In reality, I also pray someone in this forum can off some help suggestions so I will see a hand on the tree the first time this year.

Thinking about the emotional roller coast I have been through every year, the tree is evil...both are.

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TimSF(CA Z8B/Sunset17)

Hi olympia_gardener,

I seriously doubt you have 'evil citrus'; just 'challenged' ones :-).

Can you, perhaps, tell us a little bit more about your growing conditions, namely:
1) What type soil/soilless media you use in your containers?
2) What fertilizer do you use, and how frequently? Does it have a good N-P-K ratio, and do you have the necessary micronutrients like Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Magnesium, etc.?
3) How do you monitor and judge when to water?
4) Do you know if your water is acidic, neutral, or basic?
5) How many hours of direct sunlight do you give them during the growing season?

Answers to these, and maybe a picture or two of your trees, will go a long way to helping us help you.

Tim

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 6:05PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Yes, heat-challenged, as in they don't get enough when they need it.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:16PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Lol!!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 1:43AM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Hi, Tim. Thanks. here is my answers to your questions
1) What type soil/soilless media you use in your containers?
A: regular store bought potting soil. I think some peat + who knows.

2) What fertilizer do you use, and how frequently? Does it have a good N-P-K ratio, and do you have the necessary micronutrients like Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Magnesium, etc.?
A: slow release 10-10-10. From time to time, add small amount of epson salt, Ironite, and liquid fertilizer depends on its growing condition. For example, this spring when flower buds appeared, I give it liguid 0-45-0 to make it bloom every time I water; sometime I sprinkle some bone meal, etc. don't hurt. I don't feed or water my container plants on regular schedule, I watch its leave color/texture and its growth rate to determine what to give. If I fertilze it , usually in small dose, ie under recommended dosage on the package to avoid burn.
I have not find a good source for Manganese( epson salt supplies Magnesium), What would you recommend? I like it as supplement, ie, not mixed with fertilizer.

3) How do you monitor and judge when to water?
A: I have moisture meter I can stick into to soil if I really need to, but I have this plant for 5-6 years, most times , I can just tell if it needs water or not by looking at the leaves, stuck a finger into the soil or lift the container. More plants are killed by overwater than under water. I keep it on the dry side in winter time. Now it is outside , I have less control of water amount but the plant can handle the rain without much problem in the past.
4) Do you know if your water is acidic, neutral, or basic?
A: Not sure, but I guess it is on the base side.

5) How many hours of direct sunlight do you give them during the growing season?
A: Full east sun +some afternoon sun, at least 8 hours. I tryed last year to put it on a spot where it can get sun from sunraise to sunset. It did not like that because the pot/root got too hot.

I think Jean is right. It has somehhing to do with the temp/heat. We just had very warm day yesterday and the day before in 80's. last night, I saw couple of female flowers blooming, each with big "baby" in the center. I thought whoever got pollinated grow into fruits. I guess not. For my Budda's Hand, male flower and female flower are separate flowers. Am I crazy or my evil tree plays the trick on me again?

BTW Just want to ask a question in general, is this true to most of other fruit flowers, such as peaches, plums, pear, apples??? If the female flowers and male flowers are separate flowers, what do you need to do to have the trees grow more female flowers?

Another complication... I just read most recent forum about should or should not fertilize tree in fruiting stage. I am very much attempted to put more fertilizer to the soil to give the plant everything it needs without have it to pick and choose either grow leaves or grow fruits. Why can it grow both leaves and fruits at the same time if there is enough N-P-K in the soil to support it? Anyone has any inputs or comments??

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 3:48PM
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TimSF(CA Z8B/Sunset17)

Based on your answers, I'm wondering if your main problem might not lie with your irregular watering and fertilizing schedule AND the type of fertilizer that you use (BTW, be careful about applying too many different types of fertilizers at once as there is a risk of overfertilizing).

In general, citrus are heavy feeders of Nitrogen and it's been mentioned by many on this forum that the ideal N-P-K ratio is something in the 3-1-2 range. For example, I (and many here) use Dyna Gro's Foliage Pro (9-3-6) [can be found on Amazon] at the rate of 1/4 to 1 tsp per gal of water at least 1-2 times/week with great success. The thing we LOVE about Foliage Pro (FP) so much is that it additionally contains all of the necessary micronutrients I mention above critical for citrus growth and fruit production. Many of us here also apply a capful of white vinegar to the mix which can add a bit of immediate acidity allowing the micronutrients to be better released and absorbed by your tree. And about what you might have read about not fertilizing while your citrus tree is in fruit - don't pay attention to it. YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO FERTILIZE YOUR POTTED CITRUS EVEN/ESPECIALLY WHILE IN FRUIT!!! I don't know where the idea of not fertilizing is coming from but this information is blatantly inaccurate.

The other concern is in regard to your potting media. A lot of us on this forum have found that working with commercial potting soils is not optimal given its ability to hold too much water and in time negatively impact our plants' vigor. Take a look at the very dense but informative link below on the concept behind this problem "Perched Water Table" and a great solution to it - I myself have employed Al's basic soil recipe of 5 parts bark, 1 part perlite, and 1 part peat (also called the 5.1.1. mix) quite successfully. The added advantage of this (or the other 'gritty mix') recipe is that you'll find that you will not have to worry about over-watering again, AND you should not have the problem of over-heated roots as such (but probably still best to use non-black pots).

About your water meter: Many of us distrust the accuracy of water meters. A better method (I use this myself) is to insert a sharpened wooden dowel into your soil to gauge moisture level. When pulled out and it's dry, it's time to water.

Your question about getting fruit trees to have more female parts is an intersting one, but I suspect impossible/impractical. Fruit trees in general are very adept at knowing when and how much fruit to carry. This is the reason why, for example, you see so much tiny/baby fruit drop on young citrus - they do not have sufficient leaf canopy to support/sustain great yield. And speaking of fruit on citrus, most are self fruitful (will not need additional pollination), so unless I'm missing something (Buddha Hand growers speak up!), I suspect this to be the case for your tree as well.

Hope this helps. Let us know if we can assist additionally.

Tim

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention by Al/Tapla

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 5:41PM
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